Technology Vision

Tate Modern Expands

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Herzog & de Meuron have been selected to expand the very popular Tate Modern with what we like to think of as Tate2.

The image used by other websites to announce this project (the first image on the link above) looks undercooked and like a Liebeskind leftover. But the image we are posting today put us in an entirely different mind about the project. That it will be a crystalline, brutalist structure, worthy heir of the Crystal Chain (or Mies's early skyscrapers), iconic to the south (which is admittedly Tate Modern's least interesting side) yet a quiet background mountain from the Millenium Bridge approach from the north, over the Thames.

Also of interest is the planning for the project: an entirely new approach and entry sequence from the south; restructuring of a powerstation; the use of the expansion as a way to link the museum with the neighborhoods to the south; the new pedestrian links in a 'hood with some not-pedestrian-friendly roadways.

Also of interest is the rendering of the Philharmonic Hall project in Hamburg, scheduled for completion in 2009, which appeared in Tropolism in October of last year.

The Abandoned Pods

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As a comparison to the faux pods being drooled over over by New York's real estate mavens, we draw to your attention super-cool actual pods, now abandoned, on the outskirts of Taipei. As our friends at Tranism note, "if this existed somewhere in United States and were to be redeveloped, it would probably a cost an arm and leg to live in". We'd buy one, even if they were in the Hamptons.

NOLA Competition Open To Voting!

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Global Green (and the ever-present Brad Pitt) sponsored a competition to promote sustainable design in the rebuilding of New Orleans, and the six finalists selected are now posted. The competition finalists are open to voting; we encourage you to vote and be heard, particularly because all of the entries mix modern design, sustainable design, and vernacular practicality without resorting to overt historicist pastiche. They didn't invite any of the New Urbanistas to the jury.

Our favorites were split between the submission by Metrostudio (no URL) in New Orleans, pictured above, and an entry by Workshop APD. Click Continue Reading for more images and observations...

Frank Gehry Adds To West Chelsea Skins

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We seem to remember telling you how much we love lists. Another addition to the List Of Interesting Curtain Wall Experiments In West Chelsea, Manhattan, New York City is the InterActiveCorp building Frank Gehry designed for Barry Diller's company, between 18th and 19th Streets on the West Side Highway.

The building continues Gehry's technical innovations in panelized buildings where each panel has a unique shape. However the building carries the innovation to a level that surpasses even the American Center in Paris, where each block of limestone carried a unique curvature, or to an extent the curved brick at Case Western. The IAC building's panels are curved glass curtain wall units; has he done this before?

Click Continue Reading for more observations and a picture show...

Pod Living, The Old School

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In Manhattan's overheated and soon-to-be-totally-over celebrity real estate moment, apparently all that is required to sell some apartments is the inclusion of a few pieces of unique furniture in the renderings. Greg Allen writes a brilliant comparison of old skool pod living and the overhyped and underdesigned Jade by Jagger. Nuf said.

Rural Studio Develops $20,000 House

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Rural Studio is at it again. Journalist Oliver Schwaner-Albright tips us off to an article he wrote for the FT weekend edition. The studio is designing a prototype for a house that will be built for $20,000, including labor and materials, so that they can take advantage of a federal loan for the rural poor. The idea is to build decent housing that a person living on public assistance could actually own -- a $20,000 mortgage is met with $64 monthly payments. Brilliant.

Tropolism Exhibitions: New Blood In the Water

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Left to right: Throw a rock, hit an architect. Does anyone smell fire? The A+D's new home.

I’ve had the pleasure of surviving several parties associated with the recent AIA Convention here in Los Angeles last week, but none were so fascinating as the one held on Friday, June 9th in honor of the New Blood: Next Gen exhibition at the A+D (or Architecture + Design for those not in the know) Museum. I’d had a similar, far more intoxicated viewing of the show a week prior when it unveiled itself to L.A. The redux could not have been better.

For one thing the drinks at the bar were weak to the point of water (to keep those visiting architects from points afar under control no doubt), and to top that off, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was opening its David Hockney: Portraits show across the street. Perhaps it would have been fitting to have visited LACMA first and absorbed those famous works of celebs and lovers gone by. However, this was impossible. Due to lack of operating budget, or fear of being overrun by all of those rabid visiting architects, the museum closed early, ejecting everyone across Wilshire Blvd. and into the brightly illuminated A+D Museum.

Where they probably wished the drinks were stronger.

To read the rest of the review, click Continue Reading...

Pretty Pictures, Olafur Eliasson Edition

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We here at Tropolism like Olafur Eliasson. Not just because we know and work with O, but because we are continually entranced by his projects. A sampling of some new work can be seen in the Flickr collection of O's last show at Galery Aedes in Berlin, posted by Republish, including a pattern we used in an unbuilt commission for a Chicago residence (pictured above).

Umschreibung At KPMG

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In keeping with our theme of staircases this week, we thought we'd bring you one of the more beautiful stairs we've seen, ever. It's a sculpture/experience by Olafur Eliasson. We saw gorgeous digital prints of it in Tanya Bonakdar's private viewing room a couple of weeks ago. However, we weren't familiar with the actual object until today. It's a continuous loop of a staircase...you are always moving on it, although sometimes up, sometimes down.

The stair is called Umschreibung (Rewriting), and was completed in 2004. It's in the courtyard of the global accounting firm KPMG in Munich. There are articles on it (all in German) at Arcguide and Artinfo24, with more pictures on Olafur's website.

Suspended Staircase

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Tropolism means build beautiful details. In that vein, we were pleased to see this suspended wood staircase across a gorge in Traversinertobel, Switzerland. Engineer Jürg Conzett and his associate Rolf Bachofner solved the problem of connecting two different elevations over the gorge by creating a staircase. The staircase replaces a rope bridge for hikers that was wiped out by a rock slide.

Via We Make Money Not Art, where you'll also find links to construction photographs.

Olafur Eliasson at Tanya Bonakdar

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In case you missed last Friday's opening, Olafur Eliasson is the inaugural installation at Tanya Bonakdar's expanded gallery on 21st Street, Chelsea, Manhattan, New York. The show is stunning, even by OE standards. My favorite piece is the compass piece. To describe any more would kill it.

For some interesting observations on Olafur's work, and Olafur as an author, read Greg Allen's What He Really Wants To Do Is Not Direct.

Landing Lights Park, Borough of Queens

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I found this one in the Paper version of WIRED Magazine. The Borough of Queens is looking to redevelop Landing Lights Park, a half mile strip of land adjacent to LaGuardia Airport. Side stepping a more traditional approach, the Borough decided to import the park in the Second Life; the online community, and asked the residents to redesign it. The elements whether it be benches, swings, jogging paths will then be implemented into the physical park. What ever the result, this is a great experiment in how we can use technology to open public space decision making to more people.

Do Tanks,Democracy Island is the group, and place, organizing this and several other "County Fair" type meetings online in Second Life. Democracy Island takes on a kind of Science Fair format where presenters can set up booths and hold meetings. participants can then moved from one meeting or booth the the next.

Contributed by Colin Peeples.

OMA At Serpentine Gallery

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Given my time at Columbia University's graduate school in the middle 1990s, when buildings rendered as clouds were de rigueur, I tend to skip over news that OMAKoolhaas designed a bubble for the 2006 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. I skipped over Diller+Scofidio's cloud building, too.

However, the folks over at We Make Money Not Art have provided some very interesting precedents for this project, and it makes me think that a floating bubble in a London park would be rather wonderful.

The Circus of Delirious Shopping Carts, Part 2

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Perhaps it was all my upbringing on post-structuralist fiction surrounding abandoned carnivals that is the source of this fascination. No matter, perhaps you share such a fascination, too! The fine folks at Mountain7 have a lovely abandoned-carnival slideshow to shroud you in some architectural ghosts, for a while.

Check out the rest of their blog for more mapping of the wastes of Hampshire.

Here There Be Monsters, Part 2

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Our post about the new installation at Materials and Applications inspired a friend at Drowninginculture to send in his gorgeous snaps of the bamboo piece. Click "Continue Reading" so see a more Gilligans Island version (complete with LA hippie and child). Except Gilligans Isle with shopping across the street. And DJ booth in the water.

Revenge of the Skylines

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Our previous entry about skylines appears pathetic and sad next to the dazzling photographs of unlabeled skylines at this site. Who knew St. Louis looked so lovely at night? Warning: the site is maddeningly slow. But the pictures are worth it.

In particular, this photograph of New York early morning, when the World Trade Towers were still standing. The colors are surreal, of course, but the composition of the image is nearly perfect. That building nestled perfectly between the north and south towers? The Woolworth Building. The rest of New York seems to have stood up for this photograph as well.

Here There Be Monsters

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The latest installation at Materials and Applications had its formal reception this weekend. Although the Bamboo Bridge has been present for a week or two, this was the first time many people creaked their way across the bridge over a pool filled with bubbling fountains, and a rubber boot wearing D.J. The information at Materials & Applications promises that this monster will continue to grow, and evolve during the course of its residency. I am already impressed by the excellent use of zip ties to lash together the bamboo.

Contributed by Colin Peeples.

Open-Source House

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Given our penchant for Flickr these days, it will come as no surprise that we are intrigued by the Open Source House. It is the senior thesis of Rahm Rechtschaffen, a student in architecture at Catholic University in Washington DC. The project so far is a little rudimentary, but the premise is interesting:

Open Source House is an experimental architectural design project. The goal is to design a house while making the design process and design documents available to all potential users of the house for comment and contribution. The hope is that the project will produce design ideas that no individual contributor to the project could have produced on their own.

What's interesting is to see the difference between elements that architects design with ( form, scale, ornament/material) and the elements the open-source community will see as primary.